The exact effect of Tuesday's initiative votes is still being sorted out at the state Capitol, but one thing is known: Budget writers in Olympia have deeper cuts to make.
Voters overwhelmingly repealed a collection of new taxes on pop, candy and gum, which erases $272.4 million in revenues that the state would have received through mid-2013. Initiative 1107, which national soda industry backed with more than $16 million, was passing by a wide margin.
I'll have a story on this topic for tomorrow's print editions. Here is part of it:
Voters also were rejecting a pair of liquor privatizing measures that could have cut further into state and local-government revenues. And voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 1053's requirement for two-thirds approval of any new tax increases, which means that any new revenues will be hard to come by next year in a Legislature with narrower Democratic majorities.
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Gov. Chris Gregoire was headed to Germany on Wednesday in a trade trip related to BMW opening a new factory that will use carbon fiber manufactured in Moses Lake. But she put out a statement acknowledging the $4.5 billion budget shortfall predicted for next year could be larger and harder to close.
"There's no doubt I'm disappointed that voters decided to repeal the temporary sales tax recently imposed on soda and candy. We are currently closing a $520 million budget gap and going into the next biennium we face at least a $4.5 billion shortfall. The additional cuts we will have to make due to this loss of revenue will have significant consequences," Gregoire’s statement said.